Jake Higgins

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (5)89.12 Total impact

  • Wendy Roeb, Jake Higgins, Mary-Claire King
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    ABSTRACT: Comprehensive sequencing of tumor suppressor genes to evaluate inherited predisposition to cancer yields many individually rare missense alleles of unknown functional and clinical consequence. To address this problem for CHEK2 missense alleles, we developed a yeast-based assay to assess in vivo CHEK2-mediated response to DNA damage. Of 25 germline CHEK2 missense alleles detected in familial breast cancer patients, 12 alleles had complete loss of DNA damage response, 8 had partial loss and 5 exhibited a DNA damage response equivalent to that mediated by wild-type CHEK2. Variants exhibiting reduced response to DNA damage were found in all domains of the CHEK2 protein. Assay results were in agreement with epidemiologic assessments of breast cancer risk for those variants sufficiently common for case-control studies to have been undertaken. Assay results were largely concordant with consensus predictions of in silico tools, particularly for damaging alleles in the kinase domain. However, of the 25 variants, 6 were not consistently classifiable by in silico tools. An in vivo assay of cellular response to DNA damage by mutant CHEK2 alleles may complement and extend epidemiologic and genetic assessment of their clinical consequences.
    Human Molecular Genetics 03/2012; 21(12):2738-44. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In communities with high rates of consanguinity and consequently high prevalence of recessive phenotypes, homozygosity mapping with SNP arrays is an effective approach for gene discovery. In 20 Palestinian kindreds with prelingual nonsyndromic hearing loss, we generated homozygosity profiles reflecting linkage to the phenotype. Family sizes ranged from small nuclear families with two affected children, one unaffected sibling, and parents to multigenerational kindreds with 12 affected relatives. By including unaffected parents and siblings and screening 250 K SNP arrays, even small nuclear families yielded informative profiles. In 14 families, we identified the allele responsible for hearing loss by screening a single candidate gene in the longest homozygous region. Novel alleles included missense, nonsense, and splice site mutations of CDH23, MYO7A, MYO15A, OTOF, PJVK, Pendrin/SLC26A4, TECTA, TMHS, and TMPRSS3, and a large genomic deletion of Otoancorin (OTOA). All point mutations were rare in the Palestinian population (zero carriers in 288 unrelated controls); the carrier frequency of the OTOA genomic deletion was 1%. In six families, we identified five genomic regions likely to harbor novel genes for human hearing loss on chromosomes 1p13.3 (DFNB82), 9p23-p21.2/p13.3-q21.13 (DFNB83), 12q14.3-q21.2 (DFNB84; two families), 14q23.1-q31.1, and 17p12-q11.2 (DFNB85).
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 11/2009; 18(4):407-13. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acquired platinum resistance is a serious problem in the treatment of ovarian carcinomas. However, the mechanism of the drug resistance has not been elucidated. Here, we show functional significance of restoration of BRCA2 protein by secondary BRCA2 mutations in acquired drug resistance of BRCA2-mutated ovarian carcinoma. Three ovarian cancer cell lines (PEO1, PEO4, and PEO6) were derived from a BRCA2 mutation [5193C>G (Y1655X)] carrier with ovarian carcinoma with acquired cisplatin resistance and a secondary BRCA2 mutation [5193C>T (Y1655Y)] that canceled the inherited mutation. PEO1 was BRCA2 deficient and sensitive to cisplatin and a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor, AG14361, whereas PEO4 was resistant. PEO4 and PEO6, derived from ascites at the time of relapse with cisplatin resistance, had the secondary mutation and were BRCA2 proficient. In vitro cisplatin/AG14361 selection of PEO1 led to restoration of BRCA2 due to another secondary BRCA2 mutation. BRCA2 depletion sensitized BRCA2-restored PEO1 clones and PEO4 to cisplatin/AG14361. Thus, restoration of BRCA2 due to secondary BRCA2 mutation is involved in acquired drug resistance of BRCA2-mutated ovarian carcinoma.
    Cancer Research 08/2009; 69(16):6381-6. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ovarian carcinomas with mutations in the tumour suppressor BRCA2 are particularly sensitive to platinum compounds. However, such carcinomas ultimately develop cisplatin resistance. The mechanism of that resistance is largely unknown. Here we show that acquired resistance to cisplatin can be mediated by secondary intragenic mutations in BRCA2 that restore the wild-type BRCA2 reading frame. First, in a cisplatin-resistant BRCA2-mutated breast-cancer cell line, HCC1428, a secondary genetic change in BRCA2 rescued BRCA2 function. Second, cisplatin selection of a BRCA2-mutated pancreatic cancer cell line, Capan-1 (refs 3, 4), led to five different secondary mutations that restored the wild-type BRCA2 reading frame. All clones with secondary mutations were resistant both to cisplatin and to a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor (AG14361). Finally, we evaluated recurrent cancers from patients whose primary BRCA2-mutated ovarian carcinomas were treated with cisplatin. The recurrent tumour that acquired cisplatin resistance had undergone reversion of its BRCA2 mutation. Our results suggest that secondary mutations that restore the wild-type BRCA2 reading frame may be a major clinical mediator of acquired resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy.
    Nature 03/2008; 451(7182):1116-20. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic testing for inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 has become integral to the care of women with a severe family history of breast or ovarian cancer, but an unknown number of patients receive negative (ie, wild-type) results when they actually carry a pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Furthermore, other breast cancer genes generally are not evaluated. To determine the frequency and types of undetected cancer-predisposing mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, TP53, and PTEN among patients with breast cancer from high-risk families with negative (wild-type) genetic test results for BRCA1 and BRCA2. Between 2002-2005, probands from 300 US families with 4 or more cases of breast or ovarian cancer but with negative (wild-type) commercial genetic test results for BRCA1 and BRCA2 were screened by multiple DNA-based and RNA-based methods to detect genomic rearrangements in BRCA1 and BRCA2 and germline mutations of all classes in CHEK2, TP53, and PTEN. Previously undetected germline mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, TP53, and PTEN that predispose to breast cancer; frequencies of these mutations among families with negative genetic test results. Of the 300 probands, 52 (17%) carried previously undetected mutations, including 35 (12%) with genomic rearrangements of BRCA1 or BRCA2, 14 (5%) with CHEK2 mutations, and 3 (1%) with TP53 mutations. At BRCA1 and BRCA2, 22 different genomic rearrangements were found, of sizes less than 1 kb to greater than 170 kb; of these, 14 were not previously described and all were individually rare. At CHEK2, a novel 5.6-kb genomic deletion was discovered in 2 families of Czechoslovakian ancestry. This deletion was found in 8 of 631 (1.3%) patients with breast cancer and in none of 367 healthy controls in the Czech and Slovak Republics. For all rearrangements, exact genomic breakpoints were determined and diagnostic primers validated. The 3 families with TP53 mutations included cases of childhood sarcoma or brain tumors in addition to multiple cases of breast cancer. The mutational spectra of BRCA1 and BRCA2 include many high-penetrance, individually rare genomic rearrangements. Among patients with breast cancer and severe family histories of cancer who test negative (wild type) for BRCA1 and BRCA2, approximately 12% can be expected to carry a large genomic deletion or duplication in one of these genes, and approximately 5% can be expected to carry a mutation in CHEK2 or TP53. Effective methods for identifying these mutations should be made available to women at high risk.
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 04/2006; 295(12):1379-88. · 29.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

625 Citations
89.12 Total Impact Points


  • 2009
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Division of Medical Genetics
      Seattle, Washington, United States
    • Trinity Washington University
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States